How do the ways we imagine climate change—in terms of our cultural identities and values, the kinds of stories we engage, and the images we view—influence how we understand and respond to the issue?
We already have the technological and economic solutions we need to address climate change; what we lack is the cultural unity, will, and imagination. This talk will engage with how we imagine (and represent) climate change and why it matters, including various forms of public discourse as well as literature, film, and the visual arts. It will explore how people with different cultural identities—including different political affiliations, educational backgrounds, races, and socioeconomic situations—tend to respond to climate change differently; how those differences have polarized us; and what we can do to envision and address the problem more effectively together.
Scott Hess is Professor of English and Environmental Sustainability at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. He has published extensively in the Environmental Humanities and is a long-time member of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE). He regularly teaches interdisciplinary environmental courses at Earlham on topics such as “American Literature and Ecology” (a survey of American environmental writing in relation to various ecology movements), “Imagining Climate Change,” “Climate Change Fiction,” “Nature and American Culture,” and “Race, Ethnicity, and Nature in American Literature,” among others.